Why take a multivitamin? Why not just assume that you are getting enough nutrition from your food? There are many reasons — one is that in the modern world we are exposed to chronic stress and environmental toxins that are far greater than any other time in history. This can deplete vitamins as the body attempts to repair itself from these stressors.
A general rule of thumb is that if you are aware that you are under a higher level of stress, then take a high-potency multivitamin. You should understand that these higher potency vitamins can be really helpful, but they also contain ratios of individual vitamins that do not exist in nature. Therefore, if you choose to take a high-potency vitamin most days, or every day, remember to take a rest for a few days whenever a bottle is finished.
If you are sensitive to a strong high-potency vitamin — for example, some people will get an upset stomach if there is too high of a concentration of vitamin B in one pill. If this happens, try a whole food-based vitamin. These tend to be easier on the digestive tract and organs of elimination due to their lower natural potency.
Food-based vitamins also have what are known as coenzymes — nonprotein compounds that are essential for the absorption of enzymes. This means that water-soluble vitamins can last up to four times longer in the body than a lab-formulated vitamin. There is an additional cost for food-based vitamins, but they are definitely worth it in terms of using moderation in supplementation to let the body gain as much health as possible. Use a practical method of taking a few supplements most days, along with conscious rest periods after taking each supplement to let the detoxification organs cycle through accumulated materials.
Along with the choice to consume any supplement, it is important to gauge the overall value of taking the supplement every day, most days, or sometimes. This is in order to not overload the organs of the body by giving them more than it is naturally able to process. In shopping for and identifying a good quality multivitamin, look for brands that are whole food-based, or even fermented. This is because having vitamins in a whole food base adds coenzymes to the multivitamin — which increases nutrient absorption.
Some water-soluble vitamins are eliminated in water, others in fats — therefore, it is important to cycle periods of rest after taking any particular supplement. The usual advice is that if you are taking a multivitamin every day, at the end of each bottle take a few days off for every month you were on it. This lets the liver and kidneys have a break in processing those extra nutrients.
There are other supplements such as fish oils, where you need to be concerned about the cleanliness of the processing plants themselves — as well as the methods and solvents used to extract the oils. For this reason, International Fish Oil Standards — IFOS — certified manufacturers are recommended. One prominent manufacturer has a Gold LEED certified factory, and this means their manufacturing standards are at the highest level when considered from an environmental impact perspective.
That about covers recommendations for multivitamins and fish oil; what else might be necessary to take as a daily supplement? A B-complex nourishes the nervous system, and vitamin C restores cellular health — either one or both are great daily additions. An easy way of determining which you might want is that B boosts the nervous system, and C boosts the immune system.
Another way to determine what may be a good daily supplement is to check in with yourself. If you are healthy — but perhaps you just want greater performance in mental creativity — you can try supplementing with oils and multivitamins for most days. Also, perhaps women may want to supplement with iron and calcium, and everyone may want some magnesium. Magnesium in small amounts is the Holy Grail of the nervous system — literally every neurological function runs off of it. A great form is to take magnesium in an ionic powder in your water bottle. This means that the magnesium is in its most absorbable form.
Further, if you are injured or are recovering from a physical injury, ask yourself what can you do to supplement that area. If you broke a bone, take a calcium-magnesium blend for the duration of healing. If you want increased mental performance, you can take medicinal mushrooms or other adaptogenic herbs.
Another way to restore natural energy reserves by healing the adrenal glands is to go with adaptogens. There are very common ones, such as ginseng, Rhodiola and maca — but my favorites are the middle-of-the-road ones, such as ashwaganda, eulethero, and holy basil. Taken by itself, each has great properties to help you relax, enhance energy levels, and aid concentration; taken as a trinity, their effects are orders of magnitude better for the healing and repair of the whole nervous system, especially the adrenal glands.
As with any supplement, it s important to understand that with each of them you can take them every day, or every other day, or a few times a week — whatever floats your boat. However, moderation is encouraged, and being wise when it comes to not taking too many supplements — the amount will be different for each person. For myself, it is between 5–8 pills a day; for my friend A, it might be 12; and for my friend B, it might literally be 25 a day. But that is something to do with caution and to work up to taking a larger amount. Some people just have their protocol dialed in, and they are not faulted for that, however, using caution and taking breaks are highly encouraged when using supplements.
Of note are the following labeling certifications commonly seen on high-quality supplements:
Good Manufacturing Practice is a seal regulated by FDA, providing guidelines for manufacturing, testing, and quality assurance to ensure that a product is safe for human or animal consumption or use.
This certification states that the product contains the ingredients listed on the label, in the declared potency and amounts, does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants, will break down and release into the body within a specified amount of time, and it has been made according to FDA current Good Manufacturing Practices using sanitary and well-controlled procedures.
The International Fish Oil Standards™ (IFOS™) Program is the only third party testing and certification program for fish oils. IFOS sets the world's highest standards for purity, potency and freshness.Non-GMO Project
The Non-GMO Project is a mission-driven nonprofit organization offering a third-party non-GMO verification program to the standard consumers expect.